Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone

Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone

A stunning picture-book biography of the High Priestess of Soul and one of the greatest voices of the 20th century.With evocative black-and-white illustrations and moving prose, readers are introduced to Nina Simone, jazz-music legend and civil-rights activist. Shared as a lullaby to her daughter, a soulful song recounts Simone's career, the trials she faced as an African...

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Title:Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone
Author:Alice Brière-Haquet
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Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone Reviews

  • Beth

    This book took my breath away and made my hair stand on end. The text is absolutely like nothing I've ever read before in a picture book and the illustrations were equally as powerful as the text. This book will be on my list of go-to picture books to give to Middle and high school teachers to show them that picture books are not just for little kids. In fact, some of them, like this one, are for much older and more mature readers. If you're an adult and you love Nina Simone, you'll want to read

    This book took my breath away and made my hair stand on end. The text is absolutely like nothing I've ever read before in a picture book and the illustrations were equally as powerful as the text. This book will be on my list of go-to picture books to give to Middle and high school teachers to show them that picture books are not just for little kids. In fact, some of them, like this one, are for much older and more mature readers. If you're an adult and you love Nina Simone, you'll want to read this book.

  • Dawn

    Nina Simone was a classically trained pianist & vocalist who turned to jazz music when she was unable to make a career as a classical musician due to her race. She used her music as a medium for activism and proved to be an incredibly resilient & talented woman. This beautiful biography takes the reader through her story, highlighting the themes that music is for all people and even the best dreams need taking care of.

  • Rosemary

    She is a legend in music and civil rights history. Author Alice Brière-Haquet and illustrator Bruno Liance introduce Nina Simone to new audiences with this beautifully written and illustrated book. Written as a story to Simone's daughter, who's having trouble falling asleep, Alice Brière-Haquet weaves a tale of achievement in the face of racism, using stunning imagery: the 52 white teeth "trapping" the 36 black teeth in the keyboard, and the white keys being whole notes while the black keys are

    She is a legend in music and civil rights history. Author Alice Brière-Haquet and illustrator Bruno Liance introduce Nina Simone to new audiences with this beautifully written and illustrated book. Written as a story to Simone's daughter, who's having trouble falling asleep, Alice Brière-Haquet weaves a tale of achievement in the face of racism, using stunning imagery: the 52 white teeth "trapping" the 36 black teeth in the keyboard, and the white keys being whole notes while the black keys are half notes: "White was whole. Black was half. It was that way everywhere and for everyone." Music was made by "important men in powdered wigs from past centuries". Simone recalls her anger during a recital, when her mother was expected to give up her seat in the front, to white people who came to see her play; Simone refused to play until her mother resumed her rightful spot in the front row. She speaks of Martin Luther King, and his dream being her symphony - but the dream is fragile.

    This book is gorgeous. The words are beautiful and strong, and using piano keys as an illustration of endemic racism is simply brilliant. Bruno Liance's black and white illustrations are soft, dreamlike, beautiful.

    Do kids know who Nina Simone is? Probably not, unless their parents are fans. Does that matter? Absolutely not - this is a gorgeous introduction to Nina Simone, and to activism, for all ages. This book is going on my shelves, in my storytimes, and in displays for social conscience, activism, and African-American history. If you're so inclined, you can play Simone's lullaby, "Hush Little Baby", in your storytime or for your little one.

    Nina was originally published in France in 2015. You can find more of Bruno Liance's artwork at his (French/English) website, Pirate des Caramels, and you can follow Alice Brière-Haquet at her (French) blog, Alice in Wonderblog. Nina has starred reviews from Foreword Reviews and Booklist.

  • Heidi

    This is a book filled with symbolism and imagery. While that makes for a beautiful book, it also makes it confusing for younger readers, which is why I would recommend this book for older children. It would even make a great addition to units on the Civil Rights movement, that continues today. The book starts with Nina, a mother, singing a lullaby to her own child, and telling the story (very briefly) of some of her early experiences with music and racism. The comparison of black and white lives

    This is a book filled with symbolism and imagery. While that makes for a beautiful book, it also makes it confusing for younger readers, which is why I would recommend this book for older children. It would even make a great addition to units on the Civil Rights movement, that continues today. The book starts with Nina, a mother, singing a lullaby to her own child, and telling the story (very briefly) of some of her early experiences with music and racism. The comparison of black and white lives to the keys on the keyboard (whites are whole and more numerous, blacks are 'half' and limited in number) is brilliant and thought-provoking, especially when the illustration on the next page shows whites and blacks sitting and standing in order like a piano keyboard. The lyrical language makes references to taking wing and flying which the illustrations also show as well as flying dandelions symbolizing Nina's and other civil rights activists dreams for a better life. While additional information about Nina and her life and work would have been appreciated, the book makes for a powerful introduction to the issues involved in the civil rights movement as well as the experiences of one young girl.

  • Earl

    Framed as a lullaby, this lyrical biography of musician and activist evokes powerful images. I would have appreciated back matter to flesh things out because I did feel it ended abruptly.

  • Tanya

    Powerful. My favorite lines are:

    “Music has no color. In music there is only one rhythm. Only one heart.”

    I love how as a twelve year old, Nina took a stand for black rights. I love how she noticed as a three year old the unfairness is white and black keys on the piano.

    The black and white illustrations are superb.

    I wish this book had a biography page of Nina Simone in the back as I see done with many picture Books based on real events or a real person. I would love to know even more about Nina Si

    Powerful. My favorite lines are:

    “Music has no color. In music there is only one rhythm. Only one heart.”

    I love how as a twelve year old, Nina took a stand for black rights. I love how she noticed as a three year old the unfairness is white and black keys on the piano.

    The black and white illustrations are superb.

    I wish this book had a biography page of Nina Simone in the back as I see done with many picture Books based on real events or a real person. I would love to know even more about Nina Simone.

    “Dream, my baby, dream,”

    until you spread your wings...

  • Donalyn

    I wish there was an author's note explaining more about Nina Simone's life. Hard for kids to walk away with a richer understanding of who she was and her contributions.

  • Brenda Kahn

    A biography which is an autobiography framed as a bed-time story. Lyrical and powerful imagery. Gorgeously illustrated. I had high hopes to add this to my picture book biography unit, but lack of backmatter or further details about the subject's life will limit its use for this project. It is a lovely book though.

  • Amy

    Beautiful illustrations and important. However, there didn't seem to be enough information for me to consider this a true biography. You really couldn't use this as a source for a biography report on Nina Simone.

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